From here, we could go many different ways, so this may turn into a series. But today, I want to go down a weird, mind-bending path.
Follow along and leave a comment, if you please.
Managers are “Daddy”, HR are “Mommy”
There are many ways to compare families and companies, but the first one that came to mind was the idea that in many companies, the managers occupy the Daddy-seat, and HR folks occupy the Mommy-seat.
Or maybe this isn’t so weird. After all, in 2014 the US Department of Labor reported that 76% of HR Managers are women. They also reported that 78% of Computer and IS Managers were men.
No surprises so far, right?
Now, let’s look at our traditional view of family orgs again. And again, this is the traditional view which will feel very 1950’s Americana, so hold with me.
In this 1950’s view, Daddies were mostly concerned with:
- Physical protection of the family and property
- Making money and providing for the family
- Making the big decisions
- Administering punishment
- Doing what’s best “in the long run”
- Accomplishing the goal, no matter what
And Mommies were mostly concerned with:
- Keeping the organization running smoothly
- Preparing food for the family
- Keeping the house clean and tidy
- Handling conflicts within the family
- Making everyone feels loved and valued
- Making sure things are fair between children
- Tending to sick family members
Looking at that list above, do you see any similarities between Daddies and Managers? Or, between Mommies and HR?
I do, but maybe it’s just me.
Where does that leave you?
But if you’re not a “Daddy” or a “Mommy”, what is your place?
You’re one of the children.
This might be why so many companies treat their employees like children.
It also might explain why so many employees act like children in various ways.
What to do about all this… weirdness
I’m not entirely sure. I think the first step is to look at your organization and behavior through this lens.
If you’re a manager, do you sometimes act like a “Daddy”?
If you’re in HR, do you sometimes act like a “Mommy”?
And, if you’re an individual contributor… well, you get the point.